Troubador Playing For Keeps

Released: 28/06/2021

ISBN: 9781800463035

eISBN: 9781800469952

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Playing For Keeps


For every player that makes it into the ranks of professional football there are many thousands of others that don’t. Many drift into semi-professional football, but that doesn’t mean their dream of playing in the top-flight has died. For the majority, the flame still burns brightly. 

Matt is one of the thousands of players who juggle the demands of playing semi-professional football with a full-time job. Playing as a goalkeeper for Reigate Athletic in the Isthmian League, his life is further complicated when he meets and falls in love with Anna, an American girl, who initially fails to understand his obsession with ‘soccer’. But as Reigate Athletic make their way through the early rounds of the FA Cup, she slowly begins to appreciate what football means not only to Matt, but also to the club, and to the town. 

Despite struggling with an injury, Matt continues to impress during the cup run and out of the blue gets a call from a scout representing Premier League side Crystal Palace, inviting him for a trial. Matt is also having to deal with his relationship with Jess, the football reporter on the local paper. During the course of the season, Matt and Jess come to realise that there is a chemistry between them. Matt’s story charts the amazing highs of winning and the deep troughs of losing and dealing with injury that anyone who plays or follows sport will know only too well, set against a backdrop of an intense and complicated relationship with two women.

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Chris Pullen

I was born into football and goalkeeping. My father was a goalkeeper too, so it was almost a given that I would follow in his footsteps. I played semi-professional football for many years, almost but not quite making it to the professional ranks following a brief spell at Wimbledon during the 'Crazy Gang' era. My father also worked for FIFA and was the Brazilian FA's representative in Europe, so I was privileged to hang around hotels and training grounds when Zico, Socrates and Junior were world wide icons. In recent years, I have fallen back in love with the semi-pro game and have worked my way up from match reporter to Vice Chairman of Merstham FC, a semi-professional football club, playing in the Isthmian Premier, which is Step 3 of English football. Playing for Keeps is my first novel, although the sequel is already underway.

Chris Pullen
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